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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 9 March 2021

You'll be voting in quite a few referendums over the next two years

The Taoiseach has outlined his referendum plans for the next two years

Pro Life Groups taking part in a protest in Dublin this year.
Pro Life Groups taking part in a protest in Dublin this year.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC will be casting their votes in a number of referendums over the next two years.

The Programme for Government pledges to hold a number of referendums on a variety of topics. However, no specific timetable had been set out.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters in recent days that he has a few timelines in mind as to when citizens will be asked to go to the polls.

It’s looking like people will have their say on a number of questions next summer, as well as later in the year – with another set of referenda likely in 2019.

“The windows that we have in mind are around June/July next year, another set in November at the same time as the presidential election and then another set in May or June 2019 at the same time as the local and European elections,” said Varadkar.

The announcement comes just one month after the Taoiseach said he was not opposed to holding a number of referenda on one day – on what he dubbed a “referendum day”.

However, he said he would like to meet leaders of the other parties to see if a schedule can be agreed upon.

So, what are we being asked to vote on?

The key referendums are expected to focus on the Eighth Amendment (due to be held next year, possibly in June/July as mentioned by the Taoiseach).

Other issues which are to go to referendum include:

  • Reducing the time in which someone can get a divorce
  • Blasphemy
  • Extending the vote to citizens abroad
  • The establishment of a unified patent court
  • The role of women in the home
  • Changes to how the Ceann Comhairle is elected.

While the list of issues is long, the Taoiseach has said priority will be given to a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which Varadkar said is “most pressing”.

Holding a referendum on the abortion issue in the first half of 2018 “is fine with me”, the Taoiseach told the Dáil last month.

Poll: Will you vote in all the referendums? 

Poll Results:

Yes (5529)
One or two, but not all of them (575)
No (274)
I don't know (239)

Read: Minister for Health wants Eighth Amendment referendum next summer>

Read: ‘It’s the smart thing to do’: Canadian PM gives Varadkar advice on gender balance>

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